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Philadelphia Teachers Union Fighting Plan To Protect Promise Academy Educators From Layoffs

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia teachers union is vowing to fight a plan to exempt teachers at the district’s Promise Academies from being laid off in the current budget crisis.

With plans to eliminate 1200 teaching jobs because of a huge budget gap, the district wants to protect the jobs of teachers at its Promise Academies — those are poorly performing schools being overhauled by the district. There are six Promise Academies now, and there will be a total of 16 next year.  Superintendent Arlene Ackerman wants those teachers exempt from layoffs.

“Those schools have suffered from years of revolving doors of teachers and other staff members.  And what we’re trying to bring — what we’d like to bring to those schools is stability.”

But the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers wants all of its teachers treated equally, saying its contract does not allow for a protected class and the district never talked about exemptions during negotiations.

State law gives the SRC the power to impose contract terms. That’s something the SRC has never done, but Ackerman says now, the district is exploring all of its options.

Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio

Top Content On CBSPhilly

  • Philadelphia Teachers’ Layoff Dispute Will Go To Arbitrator « CBS Philly

    […] The union has taken issue with the school district’s decision to exempt 174 “Promise Academy” teachers who were subject to layoff according to the teachers’ contract’s seniority clause.  The district instead handed pink slips to 174 other teachers with more seniority (another related story). […]

  • What about the students?

    Pretty crazy to think. Why is it that we do not think of the students that are being affected. Of course there has been too much turn over in schools such as promise academies and the ones that will become promise academies. Leave those schools alone regardless of a contract. Schools that do not have great turnover will not be affected like these schools that year after year are abandoned by teachers. If teachers at these schools have had the energy to work the longer hours and also deal with everything else that comes with these schools then they deserve the right to stay. It would be reckless to start over once again. They have put a ton of work into a school that they love and that no one else wanted. Now that jobs are disappearing they have to give up their jobs. That is garbage. This will also allow for teachers that “just need a job” to wiggle their way into a school where they will do nothing but harm.

  • Promise Academy Teacher

    Why are Promise Academy employees being treated like the enemy here? We signed a contract to work more hours, work on Saturdays, and arguably have more challenges to deal with because we work in a Promise Academy. Don’t attack US… the majority of the people I work with plan to come back next year (if they aren’t laid off) love the students they work with, and are VERY hardworking!
    I have to say that I would like my job to be safe, but I can see that it would be unfair to protect me and not someone else.

    If protection from layoffs was specified in our original contract that we signed when we agreed to work more hours and during the summer, then the situation would be different. They can’t change the contract now, though.

    We SHOULD be treated equally…

  • martina mapp

    Yeah no wantd to work at these schools and if you are working extra hours and on Saturdays trust me your getting extra money to do it!

  • Samuel A. Maffei

    Sounds like Ackerman employed a lot of her cronies at these 6 schools. Same ole, Same ole.

    • Erin

      This isn’t true; I was hired at a Promise Academy during the summer of last year after all teachers in the district had been given numerous opportunities to apply. We work more hours, work on Saturdays, and are dedicated to our students. We aren’t “cronies”, we are educators.

      • Who Knows...

        I also work at a Promise Academy and know that people at my school are definitely not cronies. Most people are not in favor of Ackerman, but they are hard workers who want the best for their students. Many people at my school want to stay but are 1st year teachers for the district, so many of them could possibly be laid off. Who knows what will happen, but it looks like many people at my school will be replaced anyway…

      • Anecdotal Evidence Denier

        Just because it isn’t true in your instance doesn’t mean it isn’t true in others. Are you willing to say that there are absolutely no Ackerman cronies working at Philadelphia’s Promise Academies?

      • No Name

        I work at a Promise Academy and know that the vast majority of teachers are new to the school district because no one currently working for the district last year wanted these jobs… people are not Ackerman cronies anymore than they are anywhere else in the district. I don’t know about the administrators and such, but they wouldn’t be affected by the teacher layoffs anyway.

        I am actually in favor of the Promise Academy teachers being treated the same as everyone else in the district in regards to layoffs, but I can understand why people would want to try to keep continuity in the schools for the kids for next year.

  • manager

    Ackerman is corrupt.
    Ackerman needs to go.

  • anonymous

    “Those schools have suffered from years of revolving doors of teachers and other staff members. And what we’re trying to bring — what we’d like to bring to those schools is stability.”

    The reason is that Promise Academies are REQUIRED to fire half their staff, or more specifically, to fire all their staff and can only hire back up to 50% of them. That’s what is happening at the school where I work right now.

    Protecting teachers who are transferring to those schools does not lessen turnover. Those teachers will still be new to the school.

    Next argument?

    • Caring Teacher

      MOST Philly schools are a revolving door because of the way the district shuffles around teachers. I empathize with Promise Academy teachers because the ones I know are treated ;like garbage – and many planned to transfer this year (thus, the pot-sweetening move of exempting them from lay-offs).

      And to be clear, while the teachers are simply young teachers with no other options open to them, top Promise Academy administrators are indeed cronies of Dr. Ackerman.

      Children should not be discriminated against based on the schools they attend and neither should teachers.

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